Amazing health benefits of coconut water
Coconut water is the water like liquid that is found in unripe coconuts. In terms of health and goodness, coconut water is second only to water. It is extremely low in calories and full of nutrients. It is packed with calcium and minerals, and has more electrolytes than packaged sports drinks and more potassium than a banana.
The health benefits are:-
1. Helps in weight loss
It has absolutely no cholesterol, so does not increase body fat and also boosts your metabolism.
2. Lowers blood sugar level
Despite being naturally sweet, it is extremely low in sugar, so it lowers blood sugar levels and is very good for diabetics.
3. Lower blood pressure
It is low in sodium compared to energy drinks and high in chloride compared to sports drinks. Chloride reduces water retention in the body which lowers the kidney’s load and reduces blood pressure.
4. Regulates body temperature
Coconut water keeps you hydrated, which increases your body’s metabolism and even increases sweating. Sweating keeps your body cool and helps in regulating the body temperature.
5. Facilitates Digestion
Coconut water contains monolaurin, a monoglyceride which cleanses and soothes the digestive tract by actively killing intestinal worms that make digestion easier and reduce chances of digestive illnesses. Because of its high concentration of fibre, it aids in the prevention of indigestion and reduces the occurrence of acid reflux.
6. Controls Vomiting
Coconut water controls vomiting making it saviour for those suffering from ailments that cause vomiting such as typhoid, malaria or fevers.
7. Rich in Nutrient
Unlike any other beverage on the market, coconut water contains the five essential electrolytes that are present in the human body. These include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Because of its unique composition, coconut water can be enjoyed by individuals with varying medical conditions.
8. Compatible with Human Blood
Since it is isotonic to human plasma, coconut water can be used in extreme emergencies to quickly rehydrate the human body if administered intravenously. It is not uncommon for coconut water to be used an an intravenous drip in poorer, third-world countries to save human lives.
9. Boosts Hydration
The ingredients in coconut water are way more effective at hydrating the human body than energy and sports drinks. Coconut water serves as an ideal energy drink with 294 mg of potassium and 5 mg of natural sugar per glass, unlike your favourite sports drink that only contains half of the potassium content and five times the amount of processed sugar. In addition, the sodium count is only 25 mg, which is relatively low compared to the 41 and 20 mg found in sports drinks and energy drinks respectively.
10. The Ultimate Hangover Remedy
Next time you overdo it and drink more than your belly can handle, consume coconut water to soothe your stomach. It will also replace those essential electrolytes that exit the body if you experience bouts of frequent urination and vomiting.
It’s very beneficial to consume coconut water during the summer, especially if you live somewhere where the temperature and humidity levels are high. It rehydrates your body and provides essential nutrients. Make coconut water an essential part of your regular diet to benefit from it.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Fire Up Your Metabolism
Firstly we need to understand what metabolism is and how it affects weight loss . Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain normal functioning. Whether you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning etc. your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going.
Metabolism is affected by your body composition i.e, the amount of muscle mass you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat. People who are more muscular (and have a lower percentage of body fat) are said to have a higher metabolism than those with less muscle mass. If you exercise on a regular basis with weights,coupled with aerobic exercises(and have a lower percentage of body fat), your metabolic rate will always be higher than someone who does not exercise at all. The reason is that even during rest, an individual with higher muscle mass to fat ratio will burn more calories that someone with a lower muscle mass to fat ration.
As you begin to age, your metabolism has a natural tendency to start slowing down. There are some easy to follow, simple tricks that can help you eliminate body fat, improve your flab-burning metabolic process, and kick start your weight loss even before you start exercising.
Here are some easy tips to change you into a fat burning machine
Stop Dieting and Start Exercising
It isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating more nutrition-dense food, to keep you full all day long. Restricting food will kill your metabolism or slow it down. It makes our body think that its starving and puts it into famine or survival mode. The body responds by slowing down the metabolism in order to slowly spend the existing energy.
This means that your body starts to consume less calories and store more.
Build some Muscles
Rev up your metabolism by doing some resistance exercises like weightlifting, hand lifting etc. Also, decrease body fat by doing some aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing, walking. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat does, thus increasing metabolism or calorie burn.
Go to Bed Early
A research suggests that people who had insufficient sleep and were under more stress had more body fat than people who had sufficient sleep.
Eat Protein Rich Food
The faster your metabolism is, the more fat you burn and the slower your metabolism is, the more fat you will store. Eating protein is a good way to increase metabolism, especially since the body burns more calories to digest protein than it does digesting carbs or sugars.
Go Organic Whenever Possible
The accumulation of toxins in the body slows down the metabolism because the body has to work extra hard to eliminate these toxins on a daily basis. So going on a organic diet leads to less toxins in the body in the form of pesticides. Going the organic way is always a healthier option.
Get Up and Move a Little
Sitting or standing at work may play a big role in your health and waistline. Researchers suggest that inactivity for 4 hours or more causes a slowdown in an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. Stand up from your desk and walk around the office, go up and down the stairs a few times. If you use these little bursts of energy throughout the day then your metabolism will stay revved up and you’ll keep burning more calories.
Drink Cold Water
Researchers found that drinking 1 liter of cold water a day can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. Start drinking cold water to accelerate your metabolism by up to 30%.
Eat Some Hot Food
Eating hot food can also fire up your metabolism. Eating red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response). If they’re hot enough they’ll rev your metabolism into higher levels and you’ll break a sweat!
Dont Skip Breakfast and have small meals through the day
Eating breakfast jump-starts metabolism and keeps energy high all day. Eat often because that will keep your metabolism pumping all day long, and when you eat many small meals through the day, it puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Women metabolize caffeine about 25 percent faster than men. Metabolic rate remains highest during the first three hours post caffeine consumption. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases heart rate and mental acuity. While the blood pumps faster, the metabolic rate increases. According to research, tea can increase your metabolism by 12%. Researchers believe that the antioxidant catechins present in tea, provide the boost.
Fight Fat with Fiber
Fiber can raise your fat burn by about 30 percent. Research has found that those who eat the more fiber gain the least weight over time. Aim for about three servings each of fruits and vegetables every day. Fiber leads to lower calorie intake which lessens the calorie count.
Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Unless you consistently consume iron, you will have a slower metabolism. Lean meats, beans and spinach are excellent sources. Get this essential mineral in natural doses from real foods.
There’s some evidence that calcium deficiency may slow metabolism. Research shows that consuming calcium in dairy foods such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other foods.
Dont Get Stressed
Research says that being stressed out creates high levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body, which leads to belly fat . Relax and let go off the extra kilos!
All of our body’s basic reactions, including our metabolism, depend on water. If you are dehydrated, you may be burning less calories, according to researchers. In the study, those who drank more water everyday had higher metabolic rates than those who had drank less.
Eat metabolism boosting foods like Apple, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, papaya, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, garlic, onions, mangoes, cucumber, cauliflower, carrots and avocados. These fruits and vegetables belong to the negative calorie list of foods that will help you boost your metabolism.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Myth – Sweating Helps You Lose Weight
Its a common misconception that sweating helps you get fit and is a measure of calories lost. But that can never be true. You sweat because its a natural mechanism for your body to cool down. So, you may weigh up to 1 kg less after an intense, sweaty workout because you’ve lost water weight through sweat. You will gain back all of that weight once you start eating and re-hydrate yourself. The key to losing weight and getting in better shape is by reducing the overall fat content in your body, which can be achieved through a dedicated exercise and diet plan.
For years people have tried to use sweat suits, steam rooms and sauna belts to lose weight. We find it hilarious that people believe those sauna belt ads for weight loss. Excessive use of these might be unhealthy as over sweating can lead to dehydration and its other side effects. In fact, its always recommended to keep drinking fluids as you sweat. Keeping your hydration levels up helps you perform better.
The best way to get fit and reduce fat is to perform a mix of cardiovascular exercises (like running, cycling, etc) and weight lifting, with a balanced diet. So, work up for sweat, and ensure you hydrate yourself at regular intervals.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Marathon Training Tips- Nutrition during & after Run
In the previous article, we focused on the nutrition before a marathon or a long run to help you build your stamina and perform better. Here, we’ll focus on the nutrition during the run.
Don’t laugh at the idea of nutrition during a marathon- its inconsequential for a short run, but for long runs like marathons its essential to keep focus on it.
1. Sip water before: Right before the run, you might feel a little thirsty. Sip on some water, but ensure that you don’t drink too much. At the max- half a glass. Else it will sit in your belly and weight you down while you run.
2. Hydration: During the run, at the water stops, keep sipping water. Research your marathon route well so you know where the water stops are, and train your body accordingly. Optimum hydration helps your muscles perform better- with stamina and speed.
3. Sports Drinks: Electrolyte based drinks like Gatorade are available at water stops. These drinks contain simple sugars and salts, so they provide instant energy as well as hydration. Long duration of exercise depletes the salt compound levels in your body. The electrolyte based drink replenish these replenish these salt compound levels to keep you going for longer. Like water, don’t drink too much, else it will sit in your belly.
4. Energy Gels: For long runs like marathons, your body can require over 5000 calories. Since you can’t eat that many calories in your pre run meal, many long distance runners carry energy gels with them. These energy gels contain electrolytes and simple carbohydrates to provide instant energy. When you feel like your running out of energy, pop open a gel pack. It contains fast dissolving carbohydrates that give you instant energy and keep you going.
After a marathon, your body has taken a pounding so ensure that you provide it with the right nutrition to replenish your muscles. Have some quick dissolving simple carbohydrates like candy bars, or fruits like banana. Low fat food is better, since its promotes faster digestion and quicker absorption of nutrients into your muscles. Ensure you hydrate well and give your body some much needed rest.
Nutrition Tips for Peak Performance – Before the Marathon
There are plenty of marathons and long distance running events (list of running events in India). You might be training for it, or probably know someone who is. As important as training for it is, its equally important to get your nutrition right. Incorrect nutrition can complete destroy your performance.
Here are some nutrition tips that help you build stamina and improve performance.
We’ll break the nutrition down into 2 parts based on its timing- The first one is before the run, and the second is during and after the run. Here we’ll focus on the nutrition before the run. We personally rate the nutrition before the run as the most important, since it lays the foundations for your energy requirements:
1. Dinner: On the night before the big run, have a carbohydrate rich dinner, like pasta or rice. The surplus carbohydrates are stored in your body and are used to supply glycogen to your muscles during the run.
2. Hydration: About 1.5 hours before the run, drink a litre of water. This water will hydrate your body. The timing is important, since it gives your body enough time to process the water out. That way, you’re standing at the start line, not the line for the toilets.
3. Pre Run Breakfast: Breakfast anyway rules as the most important meal of the day. On your run day, its even more important since you need it to fuel you through the run. Eat a good breakfast with lots of slow release carbohydrates, some protein and low fat. Eat this meal atleast 45-60 minutes before the run. An example would be oatmeal with low fat milk and a banana. Fast release carbohydrates (sugary) are not recommended since it can cause a sugar low, and impede performance at the start of the race. Some protein is good to feed your muscles. Fat free is not important, but low fat is- Fat takes longer to digest so it will sit in your belly, make you feel heavy, and affect your performance.
4. Vitamin B: Pop a Vitamin B with your pre marathon breakfast. Your body uses Vitamin B to produce energy. For long runs and workouts, your body needs to produce extra energy and stamina, and a Vitamin B will help with that.
5. Sleep: Last but not the least, get 8-9 hours of sleep before your run. Sleep has lots of benefits. Your body should be completely well rested to perform in a long run.
Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 – Event, Experience and Learnings
We took part in the Great Delhi Run in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 in New Delhi. Was that an experience!
We’ve participated in multiple runs and athletic events across the world. If we were to sum up our experience at this event, it was less of an athletic event, and more of a branding event for Airtel. To let it lose, it was a sham of an athletic event. Lets see why:
Advertising, everywhere: Since they advertised so aggressively for it, they were probably trying to recover some money- in the process, the event was overloaded with corporate advertisement. There were people carrying huge Airtel hoardings, blocking the whole route, so if you were behind them, there was no way to cross them. DHL was advertising some ‘jumbo box‘ of there’s, so they had a bunch of people taking up the route again.
Like this, there were multiple companies trying to advertise- huge hoardings, noisy slogans, very intrusive and in your face advertising. So, if you were at the event for anything besides a leisurely walk, it was a disaster. We were planning to run in the Great Delhi Run, and it was a frustrating experience.
Event Organization: The organization was bad. First, we could not locate the starting area. Then, there weren’t enough organizers to answer questions, or enough directions pointing you to the Start. Once you cross the start line, there were thousands of people taking part so it took a while to start running. We got to the event at 9.20 a.m for a 9.30 start time. We could only cross the start line at 9.58 a.m! The passage ways were so narrow for the number of people participating, that there was no chance of moving fast.
Volunteers: The volunteers for the event were trying to cheer on, but some of them were so enthusiastic in their cheering, that they were on the running route, which was anyway crowded with participants and advertisers!
Distance Markers: The distance markers were not visible with the crowd. In fact, even after running it, we’re not sure of the distance we ran. We estimate it at 6-6.5 km.
More Issues: Then there were water stops, handing out water bottles. Some of them were so enthusiastic, that they were in the middle of the track. The streets were strewn with plastic bottles. To clean them up, poor kids were running across the track while the event was on. Then, there were cops in the middle of the route trying to keep it secure, but also coming in the way of runners. So, it was less of a run, and more of an obstacle course.
Post Run Issues: Post the run, the food lines were incredibly long, so many people left without getting any food after the run. We couldn’t find any buses to take you back to the parking lots, so we had to cab it.
The only upside was that there were people on the side who had come to watch and cheer people on!
Learnings from the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon event:
If you plan to participate in the Delhi Half Marathon event in 2009, please learn from our experience and take this tips:
- Get there at least 1.5 hours before time, to ensure you have time to park, commute to the event, find the start line, and get there early enough, so you’re not stuck behind the advertisers, and slogan shouters. Since you will get there early, carry some food and drink with you, to ensure you have enough energy and are properly hydrated.
- Take part in the half marathon instead of the Dream Run (or the Great Delhi Run), if you want to really participate and be able to run.
And last but not the least, don’t have any expectations from the event.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo